Friday, May 25, 2007

Sick of the "official line"

So here is the line from "Someone At The Times" in regards to Al's departure.

"My understanding is he volunteered for it. A pretty good payday, I heard, especially for a 77-year-old who would have been put out to pasture a long time ago in most other professions."
(well, except for this profession, which has traditionally valued the skills and opinions of people like.... Walter Cronkite, David Halberstam, Jack Smith, Jim Murray, Pauline Kael, Journos Emeritus, if you please.)

Quite frankly, I think "volunteering" is a long stretch.
It's sort of like me telling my kid, "clean your room or they'll be no TV tonite." He'll do it, but he didn't want to.
From what we've heard straight from the lion's mouth is that he really didn't want to quit, had no intention of ever stopping his biweekly column. And in our meeting with him last month, he intended to finish out his career here.

I think Bill Boyarski has the best point of view in his article, "Dumping Al."


Kanani said...

I heard from Al.

He was told that his column was ending and here was his buyout. Period. End of career.

The official line that all of these veterans are leaving of their own volition is simply not true.

By the way, did you know that if Fitzsimmons leaves after the Zell deal goes through that "Based on his 2006 pay, FitzSimons would be eligible for a severance package of $10.6 million, according to the filing" and he does stands to gain an additional $22.9 million by selling his Tribune holdings, restricted shares and stock acquired by option exercise in the merger, filings show."

It's here

I'm sure that some of the journalists could use a chunk of that.

mr.oc said...

Als replacement will be located in a high rise in India. What a shame..

I am not opposed to generous executive pay, BUT, The generous pay must reflect the success of the company. How can Fitz receive this compensation when he is steering the ship in a circle? The ship is sinking and he is STEPPING ON THE HANDS OF THOSE HOLDING ON TO THE EDGE OF THE LIFE RAFT.


Ed Padgett said...

Funny how the numbers change from day to day. I have Dennis FitzSimon's getting $44,000,000 when he's forced to take his special buyout?

Ah yes, Al's column will be written from India in the very near future, but not by Al Martinez.

Kanani said...

My friend received this from David Hiller:

Thanks for writing to me about Al Martinez. Al is a fine writer as well as a wonderful person who has won the friendship and admiration of many,many readers over more than 35 years at The Times.

He, and all of us here, have been fortunate to have readers who - like you - are devoted to his work. At the same time, things do change and our editors concluded it was time for a change of direction in our lineup of columnists.

I hear your point about how much you will miss Al, but I do hope you will give both yourself and The Times an opportunity to see if you might find the same qualities you admire in Al's work in the work of our other writers and columnists.


I think it was the manner in which he was told his time was up. Not an easy thing to say or hear, but truly.... I can understand why Al would be upset.

And as I have pointed out, it would have cost a fraction of Fitzsimmon's 10.6 to get Al to stay and just toss in a biweekly column.

It's sad.